Friday, 13 May 2016

Chepstow Castle - A Toddler Explores

Chepstow Castle - A Toddler Explores written across picture of toddler at castle entrance

Chepstow Castle - A Toddler Explores

After days of rain we had the promise of a dry, sunny day so off we went to Chepstow Castle. Only a few miles from our home in Cardiff and another excuse to use our CADW membership.

Chepstow Castle - A Toddler Explores a castle on a hill
Chepstow Castle 

We didn't research it at all, just jumped in the car and off we went. Well, I say jumped in the car, we filled the car with everything we'd need for a week away and then went back for everything we'd forgotten, then enticed Bear into the car with promises of castles and running about a lot.

We followed the sat nav and it took us to a car park above the castle. £2 for 4 hours, a bargain. Next to the car park is a path that winds its way down a steep hill to the castle. Passing picnic tables, masses of garlic in flower and totally safe for a toddler to run around.

grass and a path going steeply downhill covered in fallen blossom
The path down from the car park

adult pushing buggy, castle ahead
Down, down and here's the castle!

toddler picking daisy's

toddler in front of white flowering garlic
Bear can't wait to get going again

Eventually we found ourselves near the front of the castle and directly in front of us, a car park. Yes, directly outside the castle is a car park, with spaces, at the same price. Never mind, we had a lovely walk and we also have the steep hill up playground to look forward to on the way back. There are also toilet and baby change facilities in the Castle car park. The Tourist Information office was closed.

entrance to castle, with toddler and adult.
Finally arrived.

We entered the castle via the shop which has lots of steps but there is a gate to avoid the steps. The staff are very helpful and offered to open it for us as we had the buggy.

Inside the shop was a knight. He told us he had a dragon's tooth around his neck and he let Bear touch it. He said he'd killed the last dragon but Bear didn't believe him because Bear saw a dragon at Caerphilly Castle.

toddler and adult dressed up in medieval clothes
Bear doesn't believe the last dragon is dead, he's seen one.

Inside the castle there are a few places that have lots of steps, the cellar and the walls, but mostly it is buggy friendly and safe for toddlers. Whenever we go exploring we put reins on Bear in case of steep drops (like Raglan Castle) or open water (Cosmeston Lakes) but he didn't really need them here.

ruins and toddler running on grass
Lots of slopes for roly poly's

toddler on path walking towards ruins
I'm off exploring

toddler on slope losing balance but not falling
Whoops! Careful Bear!

We met another Knight on horseback. Bear was a little wary at first, then decided the horse was friendly and gave it a kiss. Awww.

wicker horse and knight with toddler looking up
Bear is not sure...

life size wicker horse and knight and toddler kissing horses leg
Bear kisses the horse's leg. How cute.

Then we found the puddle! Oh joy our journey wasn't wasted, this is what Bear had been looking for. Lots of splashes and wet trousers. We didn't worry, the sun was out and it was getting really warm.

toddler standing in puddle wicker statue behind
Bear splashing away happily

For those of us who love the views and ruins there are plenty here. The Wye looking majestic although very brown. The drop from the castle unscalable.

Throughout the ruins there are gems, the 800 year old castle doors (the oldest castle doors in Europe), a mill stone, figures on the tops of the tower. The great hall built in 1067, just a year after the Norman invasion, is the oldest surviving stone castle in Britain. The Earl's chamber is closed for repairs so that is a great excuse for us to visit again.

ruins of castle high on sheer cliff above muddy river

collage of pictures of the castle
Going clockwise starting top left: Chepstow Castle front view; 800 year old door; vaulted ceiling; mill stone; great hall; view through gate towards Chepstow

collage of river views.
Left: Bear and Grandad with river Wye behind Top: Bend in the River Wye Middle: View towards Chepstow and the bridge
Bottom: Muddy banks at base of cliff

tower with huge buttresses and figures on the top of the walls
Tiny figures on the top of the tower

playground with slide, climbing frame and swings
The playground at the top of the hill.

We stopped at the playground for Bear to have a go on the swings and for us to sit and have a coffee, we always take a picnic. The playground is a bit big for Bear, the slide is really high and Bear just liked to sit at the top. Two children about 6 or 7 were there and they had a great time.

We just loved the sunshine, getting to the castle early and having it to ourselves is fantastic too. Entrance prices are the usual for CADW sites £6 per adult, family ticket £16.20 and under 5's are free.

We love castles and so does Bear. We need some suggestions for the summer. Do you have a favourite castle?

*we paid for our CADW subscription ourselves.



  1. I found the knight on his horse, haha. It's fab. The dog is in a Victorian Walled garden, an attachment to a medieval museum.
    (sunday photo)

    1. Haha! Well done :-) I wonder if it is the same artist?

  2. I hope you enjoyed your walk back up to the car park ;) I love all your photos what a fabulous place for a toddler to explore. The last castle we visited was Nottingham and the kids loved it.

    1. Thankyou. We love castles there's always a surprise :-)


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